Jennifer Steinkamp’s “Fly to Mars 9” (taken by me at an exhibition)


The specificity of this time seems to go by easily unnoticed, and yet be inescapable. 

It is a time that not everyone thinks much of, but nonetheless a time and theme everyone should keep in mind. 

Some countries celebrate mother’s day this month; many countries honor International Women’s Day.

It is a time to speak and reflect, so that everything is voiced and everything is understood.

Or will it be next time, like the times before?  


Because we have been here before.

My mother was here at a time when girls were raised with a pressure to prove themselves as daughters, sisters, wives. A pressure that was built on a premise that they were not enough as a person.

My mother was here at a time when instead of deconstructing ideas of gender conformity, girls were raised to internalize them.

Where she is now is a strong place, while at the same time she states that she sometimes feels like a housewife more than anything else.    


The world she grew up in is not the same world I grew up in.

She was born into a world that showed her that women would be a majority at the bottom, but a minority at the top.

She was born into a world where the interests of the invisible hand shaped institutions, leaving women’s hands to do the cooking and cleaning. Leaving women’s appearances on display and their identities invisible. 

Even if it was not her world, it is still only a generation away, where the world fostered  vulnerability and a weak position of the female gender.   


We live in a time of contradicting constructions. Women are commemorated, mothers are neglected. Mothers are praised, women are put aside.

Our time is indeed better than previous times. But has women’s time come?

Not as in their time to take over. Rather as their time to be certain that they can be themselves without ever feeling like their femininity should be smaller or greater.


Most of the time women feel small, or at least smaller. Not because of their personality, but because of the prescribed purpose of femaleness and femininity.

To shrink oneself and stay silent is luckily not what all women choose to do, but it is what everyone originally understands the female frontier to be.

That is what gender is. It tells a story of what we should be, but leaving little room for our own imagination and interpretation of our story.


Taking place in a time of a significant change in the collective consciousness, my mother’s story had the potential to be a story told by her.

It is through her that I see womanhood. It is not through her as my mother, as a wife, as a female figure.

I see her through her character, which never ceases to be all of the above and more.

But what I see stops with me. It is not how society as a whole sees women. Today’s society is not as blind as it used to be, but there are still blind spots to be exposed, as well as things to unlearn and unsee. 


Some might see it as a shortcoming not to mention men. But the flaw is rather that it is unavoidable not to identify with our gender.    

A mother’s day or a women’s day is not meant to focus on women and everything that men are not. It is meant for the gender genesis to become something of the past.  


My mother’s story will end differently than her mother’s story. It will end differently than the story of women in other countries, with other backgrounds, with other ways to be raised.

It will end differently than my story.

But what we have in common is that we all work to make a world where the story of girls in the future will be stories of people with the power over their own lives.

But for now, the one thing we can do is to keep them all in mind. 

At least this month, it is women’s time.      

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